To my fellow pilgrims in this season of Lent
Last Sunday was a wonderful celebration of Christian calling as I led a commissioning service for new elders in Tumbarumba in the morning and was then inducted as the minister of the Southern Region in Henty in the afternoon. There was a beautiful symmetry to the day which reminded me of how vital and necessary every single part of the Body really is.
Thank you to all who were present, and to the many others who have offered their support, prayers, encouragement, and friendship to my family and I in recent weeks.
Thank you, especially, to all within the Church of Christ who have listened for and responded to the leading of the Spirit in their lives, who have made sacrifices and put their self-interests aside to serve others, who have acted as agents of healing and reconciliation and justice in our community, and who – in various big and little ways – hold the sacred mystery of God before us in our mission, our decision-making, and our worship.
Leading where God calls is not always an easy task. It can be humbling, confusing, frustrating, uncomfortable, and even positively unrewarding at times!
Sometimes, we might encounter what seem to be obstacles in our way or stumbling blocks to our vision, only to find that they were actually route markers along an unimagined journey – places where God came very close to us and we were able to come very close to God.
Sometimes, we may feel vulnerable or unsafe opening up to or standing in front of others – like “spiritual flashers” to borrow a term from a friend – and risking criticism for what we are doing and how we are doing it from people who seem unwilling to do anything but throw stones.
Sometimes, our passion and urgency might chafe against the processes and the structures of the church that seem slow and unwieldy but can actually offer us the space to follow our thoughts home, hone our gifts, deepen our conversations, and build authentic, supportive relationships that honour our mutual gifting and collective discernment.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it”Luke 13:34a
As I read Christ’s words this week concerning Jerusalem, I am struck yet again by his humility and trust in the Father as he walks towards the city of Jerusalem knowing what awaited him there. It fills me with wonder that he is still full of love and longing to gather up the people like a mother who hen covers her chicks with her wings – even though they will soon mock, betray, deny and crucify him.
As we journey towards the cross, together, I hope that we will:
- have the courage to explore and/or continue on the journey to which God has called us;
- take a moment to affirm and encourage those who are exercising their gifts for the benefit of the Body;
- and pray for the same love and longing of Christ to see his people welcomed, embraced, and protected in this place.
Yours, in Christ,